I am on a journey. This year I went on a spiritual retreat in Georgia with Andy, put on through Asbury theological seminary, I should really say that I am a case study. But long before the retreat God wired me in a way to be in relationships with my family and community, to love Him and to create art. I was reminded of all these and immediately felt a quieting of my soul for a stage in life.
For about 5 years I have been wanting to return to school for my masters in arts administration – basically a MBA designed for running art related non-profits. Unfortunately there are few schools with these programs in Africa or Northern Michigan. Instead I sharpened my skills as an administrator at SpringHill Camps and nudged my way into their art program.
This retreat helped me be more in touch with those longings as we were encouraged to write a rule of life as noted in Ruth Haley Barton’s book Sacred Rhythms. One early morning in Georgia I set out to a local health club to take my morning swim. In the locker room I met a woman who began to ask me questions about my trip, that led to more and more technical questions about ceramics. It turns out that she was a local potter, and without batting an eye, she proceeded to give me a lecture on not shelving my gift. Her message warned me of how precious my time was right now and how important it was for me to continue in my artwork even if it was only a few minutes a day. I took quite passionately her advice and the teachings of the retreat, to which are woven throughout my rule, I felt an undeniable call to embrace my children which led to me resigning my post at camp. I am enjoying my girls so much, their own creativity is awe inspiring. I had quite a few offers for volunteer positions and time fillers but my heart carried a steady no.
In January, a mere three days after leaving camp, I found myself attending an annual meeting for OLAH – A local non-profit group promoting the arts here in our community. Listening in the meeting and looking over the agenda, my heart leapt, as I saw a dream of mine opening. Newly reorganized, the president, who is a retired art teacher and art advocate was looking more or less for a mentee to train to carry on the next stages of the organization. I felt a kindred connection with her, as I jumped into aiding her in administrative tasks. The best part is they will be opening a building 2 blocks from my home that will serve as a community arts center. There will be a gallery in the front, a place for classes to meet and plans for a ceramics studio in the back. I will be learning hands on the building of a non-profit with grantwrititng, fundraising, coordinating schedules and teaching classes. I still would like to return to school one day, but who would have ever thought this experience would be available in my backyard. I give the glory to God as he continues to guide me in this journey, softening my heart for motherhood, and offering friendship in the community.